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TweakTown News Posts - Page 79

Cortana for Xbox One is coming along nicely, Xbox boss says

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 5:07 pm

It's been a few months since the hidden Cortana functionality was accidentally found in the November Xbox One update, but it seems that the full functioning digital assistant is getting much closer to being released. And the Xbox boss is quite excited about it too.

 

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The Xbox One already has a great voice command system, one that's evolved upon their successful Sync and other speech recognition technologies, but in order to bring it into parity with the rest of their brand, they need to bring Cortana, a true digital assistance, into the mix. There's no release date quite yet, but Mike Ybarra did say that it was "coming along great."

 

Cortana would be just another feature that the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's current lineup doesn't have. Just how useful it would be for a primarily gaming (re)focused device is unknown. It also means you'll need a microphone in order for her to hear you, which is either Kinect or through a headset plugged into your controller (or USB port). It'll be interesting to see just what kind of commands will be available and how they'll be used on the Xbox One. Just using your voice to launch a game isn't exactly exciting, or new, so there's hope that something more is coming from the infusion of Cortana.

AVADirect teams with Sixense to give away the ultimate VR desktop PC

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 4:13 pm

GDC 2016 - AVADirect entered the VR gaming PC world quite quickly, and in a huge way, with beautiful, and compact VR gaming PCs. Their next step? Giving away the AVA Sixense Ultimate VR Desktop & Sixense STEM System Devkit. Yes, an entire VR gaming PC and the super-awesome STEM controller system from Sixense Motion.

 

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The AVA Sixense VR Desktop can be configured with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti or Titan X - providing the ability to play virtually any game at 1080p and above at 75FPS+. The STEM system from Sixense is an amazing wireless motion tracking controller setup for desktop and mobile VR, which is something we fell in love with at CES 2014.

 

But we're all here for the giveaway, which has a total value of $2599 - in this, you get the AVA Sixense VR Desktop packed with an Intel Core i7-6700, GeForce GTX 980 Ti from EVGA, 16GB of DDR4, and the STEM base with two STEM controllers - the best start for a VR system. All you need from here is the Oculus Rift and you're good to go.

 

To enter, visit the AVADirect website.

Final Fantasy XIV dev diary is an expose on animation style

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 4:03 pm

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward added in something very special when it came out. Aside from the great addition to the story, they gave us the ability to fly about the different locations of Hydaelyn with customizable winged mounts. The process to create those and really integrate them fully into the greater game was a bit more difficult than you'd think, and that process of animating the mounts is detailed in the newest Developer Diary video from Square Enix.

 

 

It was a challenge to make sure that flying was a smooth process that didn't detract from the beauty of the game. The designers had to decrease the overall amount of data while flying so there wasn't any stuttering. That and adding in an element of elevation was tricky, you can't have the controls be jerky or unintuitive.

 

The most important part, naturally, was introducing the Fat Chocobo as a potential aerial ride. But how does one make a gigantic creature like that capable of flight? Well, with the right motivation; cake. Check out the video, it's a very enlightening look into the creative processes that they go through to bring things to life.

Continue reading 'Final Fantasy XIV dev diary is an expose on animation style' (full post)

There's a possibility that AMD will get into mobile graphics again

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 3:19 pm

AMD was once a very prolific force in the mobile, handheld GPU world. And it seems that Raja Koduri, the head honcho in charge of the new Radeon Technologies Group, isn't necessarily ruling out the idea of returning to that field either.

 

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AMD is already well positioned to create custom chips with their deal that they've brokered with Sony and Microsoft, not to mention Nintendo. And Raja himself is open to the idea of licesning their IP to be used in mobile products. They don't, however, want to actively build their own mobile devices based on their technology, but if someone else approached them with the idea to integrate either an APU outright or Polaris into their own design, it wouldn't at all be out of the question.

 

The idea is a natural one, given the potential power savings that the new Polaris architecture could introduce on all fronts. Already Polaris 11 (the smallest chip thus far) can play Star Wars Battlefront at 1080P with a steady 60FPS while only consuming around 35 watts for the GPU itself. So, then, it isn't a stretch to have their new architecture appear in lower-power APU's for, say, tablets, micro-consoles or even phones.

Continue reading 'There's a possibility that AMD will get into mobile graphics again' (full post)

Get a lifetime of tech learning resources from SitePoint

By: TweakTown Deals | More News: Deals | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 3:00 pm

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Okay, so you may have to go elsewhere to learn how to juggle and train a dolphin, but we're pretty sure SitePoint's covered the rest...at least when it comes to a career in tech, design, or business. You lifetime subscription gives you unlimited access to $75,000 worth of online content, including tutorials, e-books, and screencasts. Master website programming, app development, UX and UI design, project management, social media, content strategy, marketing...basically all of the skills hiring managers are excited to see on a resume. Plus, your subscription includes all the new content SitePoint adds, including new screencasts every week and a new e-book every month.

 

You've got this. Get a lifetime subscription to the SitePoint Premium library of courses for $49.

StarCraft 2 Nova Covert Ops release date finally announced

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 2:02 pm

Blizzard isn't done with StarCraft 2 just yet, and their next expansion, called Nova Covert Ops, will have three episodes of content with the first one coming on or before June 19th 2016.

 

 

There'll be nine new missions across those three episodes, where you'll get to play as November "Nova" Terra, who's a psionic ghost. You'll get to use your abilities to infiltrate bases and try to find out what happened to the other ghosts that seem to have disappeared. There's a large consipiracy for you to unravel here.

 

Being almost entirely story and character based, it's supposed to bring some interesting new elements into the fold, things that aren't traditional "StarCraft" at all. You'll also get a chance to use some experimental technology to properly complete those missions, and maybe even save the entire Dominion itself.

Continue reading 'StarCraft 2 Nova Covert Ops release date finally announced' (full post)

The Vampire Counts are unleashed in new Total War: Warhammer trailer

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 1:06 pm

There was one particular race that we were very interested to see just how they'd be integrated into Total War: Warhammer, the Vampires. Who, by the way, they've been able to keep very quiet about up until now. And it's been worth the wait.

 

 

They are undeniably evil and even take pleasure in that fact. The Vampire Counts, here led by Mannfred von Varstein, you can watch as he raises your once dead army to use them to wreck havoc over anyone in their path. As would be expected you'll get to call upon death magic, necromancy and take a zombie dragon into battle. One can imagine that anything else dead can also become their pets, and possibly a lot more. They're the opponents that you won't want to face, but inevitably will have to. The Vampire Counts won't be playable right away, and will only make a playable appearance on May 24th due to a small delay.

Even at $399, Sony isn't selling you the full PlayStation VR package

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 12:04 pm

GDC 2016 - Yesterday Sony officially revealed the PlayStation VR's $399 price tag, matching the PS4's original MSRP. At first glance the price seems more than fair, but the Japanese console-maker has a hook in that bait that could raise the final price of the PSVR experience to $500 and above.

 

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Sony has made the decision not to bundle key hardware like the PS Camera and PS Move controllers with its PlayStation VR headset. This is surprising given the PlayStation VR cannot function without a PS Camera, transforming a once-optional peripheral into a must-have commodity. The PS Camera is currently priced at $60, but we've seen them rise as high as $100 back when stock was limited--and I'm betting Sony is counting on a giant influx of demand for the camera once the PSVR launches in October.

 

What's more is that certain PlayStation VR games require the use of $50 PS Move controllers. Some games actually require two PS Move controllers to play. So $399 suddenly turns into anywhere from $500 to $550, not including tax. On top of the hardware costs, PSVR games are expected to be anywhere from $10 to $60, so don't expect console-based VR to be cheap--just cheap-er.

Continue reading 'Even at $399, Sony isn't selling you the full PlayStation VR package' (full post)

PlayStation VR is getting it's very own Star Wars Battlefront VR game

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 11:12 am

The PlayStation VR finally has an announced price, and at $399, it could be the competitor that the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift didn't quite see coming, though the full price of entry is just about the same anyway. But Sony is intent on having unique and exclusive experiences just the same. A small nugget of information slipped out about making an exclusive Star Wars Battlefront VR experience.

 

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At the end of the GDC Keynote, Andy House said that EA and Lucasfilm would be using the PlayStation VR for a completely new, VR-based Battlefront game. This isn't the same as the Star Wars Cinematic Experience that's going to be available on the HTC Vive, but something completely separate, even though details happen to be a bit sparse at the moment.

 

House said that: "We at PlayStation are thrilled to be partnering with our friends EA and LucasFilm to create something all new for PlayStation VR. This will be a Star Wars Battlefront gaming experience like nothing else; coming only to PlayStation VR from the talented team at DICE, where players can transport themselves to a galaxy far far way." Not much to go off of at all, but just one more reason to consider the PS4. The natural question is whether this will be a timed-exclusive or a complete platform-exclusive game.

AMD is working on an unannounced VR headset with 4K per eye

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Mar 16, 2016 5:36 am

GDC 2016 - AMD came out swinging at its Capsaicin event, rolling out the red carpet and its impressive Radeon Pro Duo, but RTG boss Raja Koduri was on fire that night, teasing an unannounced VR headset, too.

 

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Ars Technica reports that Koduri said: "We are already working with a headset manufacturer, unannounced, with a 4K per eye headset. It exists. It's quite, quite beautiful, and we believe that the roadmap to go into higher resolutions will happen more quickly than is probably expected. Once you've seen a high resolution VR experience, you can see that it's really quite beautiful".

 

It'll be interesting to see this happen, and what type of GPU we're going to need to power 4K per eye on a VR headset. Polaris can't come quick enough!

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